|Some time has passed since the last post, and there have been some rather large and exciting developments, as well as some significant challenges.
December was a big month for Hodfellow’s, we were granted our manufacturer’s licence as well as our excise licence, both of which are required to legally produce and sell beer – so kind of big ticket items! We also received notification that our development application was approved from council – though they placed some rather interesting conditions in the approval which needed to be negotiated prior to commencing production. Thankfully, we’ve now progressed towards a resolution.
Most importantly, receiving the council approval – even though it required modification and negotiation, has given us the green light to progress with other aspects of the project.
|We have commenced the cold room build as well as the site plumbing – we have had our settling pit installed, along with water and drainage, and are currently getting electrical work done to the building. This has allowed us to move our equipment into place, and to get a better idea of how the work flow will feel. We still have quite a lot of fit-out work to complete – but it’s certainly starting to feel more like a facility and less like a storage shed!
Keith lining up the panels
The cold room and its various inhabitants.
And for those who are local – you may have noticed that a “rather large” sign has been erected on the building, which is exciting.
New signage – we’re not sure if it’s big enough…
I’m in the process of pulling down and replacing all of the seals in the Seitz Tirax bottle filler – as it’s been out of commission for a good 20 years or so, it’s in desperate need of an overhaul, though finding the necessary replacements hasn’t exactly been straightforward.
An interesting aspect of our operation is that through a rather odd sequence of events (which I may elaborate on one day) we have found ourselves in the possession of two 150L bioreactors, which were previously owned by Yakult. These tanks are specifically designed for rapidly growing large quantities of fresh yeast, which gives us the ability to be able to culture up live yeast strains for use in fermenting our beers.
|The intent with these tanks is to both develop and maintain a house yeast strain, as well as being able to quickly grow up commercial quantities of specialty yeasts from across the globe. The taste and quality of beer is fundamentally linked to the yeast strain used to produce it, so having the ability to quickly scale up different yeast varieties means that we will have an enormous opportunity with regards to the range and styles of beer we can produce. We’re looking forward to putting these into operation! So what’s next for Hodfellow’s? Over the coming weeks we will be continuing to install and commission equipment, finish building the cold room, have gas connected to the property as well as working on the fit-out. We are quietly optimistic that we will be able to commence trial production batches within the next 4-6 weeks. We will of course be posting updates to social media on our progress.
Starting to feel more like a facility and less like a storage shed!
Last but not least – we would like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported us through merch and pre-order sales. Setting this up between two families without crowd-funding or external investors has been and still is challenging – so your support has been most appreciated. We’re excited for what the new year has to bring, and can’t wait to take the project to the next step.
All the best for 2023,
Jabin Kirk Head Brewer